PINEHURST, N.C. – It’s sometimes difficult to remain patient at a U.S. Women’s Open – even if you’re a former champion.
Paula Creamer won this event four years ago at Oakmont, and her discipline was put to the test Thursday at Pinehurst No. 2 after she played her first 11 holes of the day in 2 over. She managed to hold it together, and after the putts finally began to drop the 27-year-old posted an even-par 70 that left her just three shots behind Stacy Lewis.
“It played tough this afternoon. The fairways were getting so firm, just in front of the greens,” said Creamer, who found 13 of 18 greens and took 32 putts. “It was playing a lot like a British Open course today.”
Creamer began on the back nine and missed a short birdie putt on No. 10, then followed that with bogeys on Nos. 14 and 18. She finally broke through on the par-4 second hole, which sparked a run of three birdies in five holes that got her back into red figures.
“As the day went on, I got more and more comfortable, kind of found my iron swing and was able to be a little bit more precise,” she said. “It’s easy to play scared out here, and that’s just not my game. But it’s very easy to go that way, and that’s, I think, one of the hardest parts about this golf course.”
Creamer has been incredibly consistent in this event, with her win in 2010 highlighting a stretch of 10 straight top-20 finishes that dates back to 2004. On the first page of the leaderboard after one round at Pinehurst, she’s once again in the mix.
“You’re going to be fine shooting even par every day,” Creamer said. “I’ve been in this position before. I think it helps a lot having won an Open, and then constantly giving myself opportunities. You learn a lot.”